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Many health-IT success stories to note

I was disappointed to read “Risks, some dire, tied to medical records rush” (Page A1, July 20), as it failed to mention any examples of patients and their health care providers benefiting from the use of health information technology, including electronic health records. Such success stories are playing out across the country daily, including in Boston, and their omission from the article incompletely portrays the important role of electronic health records in improving patient safety and outcomes.

A fully electronic health system can help identify and prevent potential medical errors. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has taken steps to address the safe use and implementation of electronic health records, including sponsoring the Institute of Medicine report referenced in the story.

Most recently, the Office of the National Coordinator, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission issued a proposed plan that would include the creation of a health IT safety center, which would assist in the voluntary reporting of health IT-related medical errors. Many patient advocates, medical professionals, and other stakeholders have expressed support for this approach.


The hundreds of thousands of providers successfully and safely using electronic health records today show that health IT can, and does, improve health and health care.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo

National coordinator for

health information technology
Department of Health
and Human Services